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FAIR TRADING COMMISSION CONDUCTS PUBLIC CONSULTATION ON C&W STANDARDS OF SERVICE 
 
The Fair Trading Commission is seeking public input on its review of the Standards of Service 2018-2020 for Cable & Wireless (Barbados) Ltd. (C&W, trading as Flow), to determine the applicability of current Standards and ascertain whether new ones should be introduced.
 
The Standards of Service framework sets out the minimum level of service that should be received by customers of Flow’s landline service. The Commission has outlined a number of proposed changes to the Standards in its consultation paper and members of the public are encouraged to submit their comments on the themes presented, which include:
  • the continuance of the Standards of Service framework;
  • the introduction of two new Standards which would introduce benchmarks for Flow’s response time to customer complaints and requests for account cancellation;
  • the introduction of automatic compensation for all of Flow’s Guaranteed Standards; • a requirement for Flow to publish, on its website, social media channels and in two forms of news media, both the Standards of Service and process for reporting breaches, in a clear, prominent manner; and
  • a requirement for Flow to provide complainants with information on compensation processes.
Flow’s status as the sole provider of landline-only service in Barbados, i.e. not bundled with other services, coupled with the dominance it has maintained in that market segment, has informed the Commission’s view that regulation of domestic fixed line services remains essential. While the current Standards of Service framework has been deemed effective, the Commission also thought it prudent to implement modifications in order to align the existing Standards with current market conditions and best practices.
 
As a result, the Commission proposes to replace the current Standard for Response to Customer Complaints (GTS 4), which measures how quickly complaints are acknowledged, with Customer Complaint Resolution Time. The new standard would require Flow to resolve a customer’s complaint or dispute within seven working days after it is lodged via telephone, email or post. Similarly, the other proposed standard, Account Cancellation Time after Customer Request, would require Flow to cancel accounts within five days after the company has received the customer’s request. Flow would also not be allowed to bill the customer beyond the aforementioned five-day period. Corresponding changes would likewise be made to the Overall Standards. While these latter Standards measure Flow’s countrywide performance, they do not result in compensation to individual customers if breaches occur.
 
The Commission has also recommended that automatic compensation be applied for all of the Flow’s Guaranteed Standards. Currently, three of the eight Guaranteed Standards require a customer claim if Flow fails to meet a target. This obligates customers to submit a complaint via telephone, e-mail or traditional mail if they wish to seek compensation, as opposed to automatic compensation, where Flow applies a credit directly to the customer’s account when a breach occurs. The Commission is concerned that in many instances, eligible compensation is unclaimed due to the manual claim process or general lack of knowledge of the Standards of Service framework. The application of automatic compensation would therefore provide a remedy for this issue.
 
The Commission’s consultation paper also proposes modifications to Flow’s reporting processes for specific Standards. However, if respondents choose to answer only some of the consultation questions, this will not reduce the consideration given to their response.
 
For more information on how to participate in the consultation and to access the consultation paper, click here. Written responses to the consultation, which should be submitted as a Microsoft Word document and attached to an email cover letter, may be emailed to :
This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it , faxed to (246) 424-0300, or mailed/hand delivered to:
Chief Executive Officer
Fair Trading Commission
Good Hope, Green Hill,
St. Michael
Responses must be submitted by 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 20, 2021. The Commission’s consultation follows its review of Flow’s Standards of Service performance for the 2018 to 2020 period. Details of the review are also included in the consultation document. The
 
C&W Standards of Service first came into effect on June 1, 2006 and have undergone three subsequent reviews, which have resulted in amendments.
 
April 23, 2021  
 
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